Do we use faith as a weapon of fear and hostility, or as an instrument of compassion and reconciliation?
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2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
I grew up at a time when the world was constantly threatened with a nuclear holocaust. I don’t know where or when I learned about the US-Soviet arms race, but I can remember worrying about a nuclear war even during the best of my younger days.
It was a terrible fear to live under. It tainted every aspect of life. As a teenager, I wanted to try anything and everything before the world was wiped out and blown to smithereens. I didn’t care about what I did or who I hurt, because the world didn’t care about hurting me.
And then things changed. Several movies on the TV and the big screen made us all aware of our madness. “Threads,” “War Games,” and even “The Martian Chronicles” showed us all the futility of nuclear deterrents and Cold War antagonism. A shift in the philosophies of Western and Soviet leaders brought about concord and pacts were made to avoid the holocaust that I and billions of other people on earth dreaded.
Christian fatalists, who used today’s verse with glee as a means to get people fearfully saved before the impending holocaust, were disregarded as a new hope blossomed throughout the world. Books like “The Late Great Planet Earth” and songs like “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” were set aside. Instead of fear being used as a method to convert people to Christ, peace and love, along with redemption and reconciliation, were offered as a means of getting to know Jesus.
Perhaps you’re anxious about your family and friends, and worry about their salvation. Maybe you come across as being fearful instead of faithful, crushing instead of Christian, or hellish instead of heavenly. Think about how Jesus loved and embraced sinners in order to gain their trust. Think about how He employed compassion and reconciliation in order to open hearts and minds. Think about these Christ-like things and then apply them. Don’t be hostile or holocaustic with your faith; instead, become helpful and holistic.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, save us from using fear to bring others to faith. Instead, allow us to be compassionate and loving, gracious and generous in order to attract people to You and Your Kingdom. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.